Opposition Threatens “War In The Streets” As Maduro Claims Victory In Venezuela Assembly Vote

Monday, July 31, 2017
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Jul 31, 2017

Despite US threats of “strong and swift economic sanctions” that the WSJ reported overnight could cut off a crucial source of revenue for Venezuela’s financially distressed state oil company, PDVSA, the socialist state’s leader Nicolas Maduro is claiming victory in a vote to create a new “constituent assembly,” a vote that US government officials have labeled a “sham.”

The ruling Socialist party’s candidates purportedly won all 545 seats in the vote. Venezuela electoral council head Tibisay Lucena said more than 41% of the country’s registered voters participated, a number that is being widely discreditr by outside sources. Per press reports, the assembly will now replace the opposition controlled Congress, which was annulled by the Maduro-allied Supreme Court in March, allowing Maduro to rewrite the country’s constitution, cementing his hold on power as his favorability rating with the public falls below 30%.

According to Bloomberg, opposition leader Henrique Capriles claimed the real participation in the vote was closer to 15% of registered voters. An unofficial referendum held by the opposition several weeks ago received more than 7.6 million votes against the current regime. Torino Capital’s Francisco Rodriguez said the firm’s exit polls recorded 3.6 million votes. Counting of the ballots was said to begin Sunday night, after the vote was extended by an hour as opposition protests across the country turned violent.

As has become all too common in Venezuela, where daily antigovernment protests are frequently marred by government killings, several fatalities have been recorded as supporters of Maduro’s government headed to the polls, according to Al Jazeera. Ten people, including an election candidate, were killed on the day of the vote as protesters tried to shut down polling stations by erecting barriers in the street. During clashes with masked protesters, soldiers fired into crowds, sometimes with live ammunition, according to AFP.

Opposition activists have promised to continue the daily protests that have seen more than 120 deaths since mid-April as clashes between soldiers and the opposition threaten to explode into a “war in the streets,” according to AFP.

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